Since becoming popular in the mid-1970s punk rock has seen its share of mutations and still managed to maintain its essential elements: anti-establishmentarianism, politicism, aggressive nihilism, the Albino gazelle syndrome, juvenile tantrum-filled unadulterated individualism and of course f**k you-ism.
Punk is the red-haired freckle faced outsider in the stunning blond, blue eyed, fabulous family next door. Dude saves his paper route money to buy a bass and plays “I Wanna Be Your Dog” over and over and over again until he learns the base line. He joins a band and scores more chicks than his ultra-popular older brother. Winning!
It’s the greasy haired stoner from your high school history class who wore his lucky Clash t-shirt every single day and got his ass kicked by bullies every other day for wearing it. Punk is your unmarried alcoholic uncle who heard “Anarchy In The UK” at the corner liquor store and right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner tells the family he’s gay, joining a band and going on a cross country van tour – with straight guys.
It’s the preacher’s kid who called her mother a bitch because mother wouldn’t allow her to date a guitar playing, cigarette smoking, earring wearing, Mohawk sporting “Dookie” lover. No, he doesn’t respect authority. Yes, he could use a shower like three days ago and yes he will lose a lung soon if he doesn’t stop smoking so many cigarettes. He knows it and he doesn’t care. Punk.
You’re a great musician? Great. Join a punk band. You’re a terrible musician? Even Better. Join a punk band and get a record deal. The Ramones did. Their DIY mentality, speedy 2-minute songs and semi-able-to-play musicianship is what made songs like “I Wanna Be Sedated” so rad.
And the filthy factor? That’s what made the Sex Pistols number one in our book of punk. Let’s face it any band that has the balls to be as wonderfully low rent as the Pistols and still create meaningful music that stands the test of time deserves the top spot on our “Quick Five” list.
- Renée Westbrook